Blue Jackets-Oilers Preview
GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (4-8-0) at Edmonton Oilers (5-6-1).
TIME: Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST.
The Edmonton Oilers look to extend their unbeaten streak over the Columbus Blue Jackets to 11 games when the teams meet Tuesday night at Rexall Place in the first of four meetings this season.
The Oilers are 7-0-3 in the last 10 games of the series, outscoring the Blue Jackets 38-22 in that span. Edmonton is 11-2-3 all-time in the series and hasn't lost to Columbus since dropping a 2-1 decision on Nov. 2, 2001.
Edmonton returns home after a convincing 5-1 road win Saturday over the Nashville Predators. The Oilers got power-play goals from Ales Hemsky, Jarrett Stoll and Steve Staios in the win. In eight games prior, the Oilers managed just four goals with the man advantage.
"All of the areas of the game that looked weak for us before were strong," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "The power play was good. The penalty killing was sharp. It was a reversal of fortune for us."
After this contest, the Oilers will begin a season-high seven-game road trip against the Detroit Wings. They will not return to Edmonton until Nov. 17 against the Wings.
The absence of star left wing Rick Nash has contributed to the Blue Jackets' 1-5 road start.
Nash, whose 41 goals tied Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames and Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers for the league-lead in 2003-04, suffered a high ankle sprain in September and appeared in just one game this season.
Without Nash, Columbus has scored a league-low 22 goals. The Blue Jackets managed just 16 shots on goal Saturday in a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
"We had a good start, and then it dropped off big time," said Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant. "We tried to get too cute and just stood around and watched Minnesota play instead of playing our game."
David Vyborny scored for Columbus. Four players are tied for the team lead with three goals each.
STANDINGS: Blue Jackets - 8 points, 3rd place, 14 PB, Central Division. Oilers - 11 points, 4th place, 7 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Bryan Berard, Adam Foote, Trevor Letowski and Jason Chimera, 3 goals; Berard and Manny Malhotra, 6 assists; Berard, 9 points; Jody Shelley, 26 PIM. Oilers - Raffi Torres, 7 goals; Hemsky, 10 assists and 11 points; Ethan Moreau, 27 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Blue Jackets - Power play: 9.7 percent (8 for 82), 30th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (77 for 91), tied for 9th. Oilers - Power play: 16.2 percent (13 for 80), 20th. Penalty killing: 80.2 percent (65 for 81), tied for 19th.
GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (2-5-0, 0 SO, 3.69 GAA); Martin Prusek (2-1-0, 0, 2.10). Oilers - Jussi Markkanen (4-5-1, 0, 2.91); Ty Conklin (1-1-0, 0, 4.39).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Edmonton, 2-1-0-1.
LAST MEETING: March 16, 2004; Oilers, 3-2. At Edmonton, Moreau scored with 5:23 remaining in the third period and Conklin turned aside 21 shots.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 1-5-0 on the road; Oilers - 2-2-1 at home.